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Social Context of 2nd Language Acquisition

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Renato Bruno

on 18 May 2015

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Transcript of Social Context of 2nd Language Acquisition

The concept of communicative competence became a basic tenet in the then-emerging field of sociolinguistics, and was soon adopted as well by many specialists in the field of SLA and language teaching.
Communicative Competence
Microsocial factors
Macrosocial factors
Social Context of 2nd Language Acquisition
Communicative competence - Language - community - Foreigner talk - Direct correction - Indirect correction - Interaction
Input and interaction
Acquisition without interaction; interaction without acquisition
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This term can be defined simply as “what a speaker needs to know to communicate appropriately within a particular language community”.
It involves knowing not only the vocabulary, phonology, grammar, and other aspects of linguistic structure (although that is a critical component of knowledge) but also when to speak (or not), what to say to whom, and how to say it appropriately in any given situation.
Variation in Language Learner:

These are multiple linguistic forms which are systematically or predictably used by different speakers of a language, or by the same speakers at different times, with the same (or very similar) meaning or function. They occur at every linguistic level; they include both standard (“correct”) and nonstandard options; and they are characteristic of all natural language production, whether L1 or L2.
Communicative Contexts:
+ Linguistic contexts: elements of language form and function associated
with the variable element.
+ Psychological contexts: factors associated with the amount of attention which is being given to language form during production, the level of automaticity versus control in processing, or the intellectual demands of a particular task.
+ Microsocial contexts: features of setting/situation and interaction which relate to communicative events within which language is being produced, interpreted, and negotiated.
Social approaches also consider the nature and role of interaction in
acquisition, and ways in which it is helpful – and perhaps necessary – for
the development of advanced levels of L2 proficiency.
Language addressed by L1 speakers to L2 learners frequently differs in systematic
ways from language addressed to native or very fluent speakers.
Other types of interaction which can enhance SLA include feedback from NSs which makes NNSs aware that their usage is not acceptable in some way, and which provides a model for “correctness.”
Negative feedback to L2 learners may be in the form of direct correction, including explicit statements like That is the wrong word; directives
concerning what “cannot” or “must” be said; and explanations related to points of grammar and usage.
(1) Some individuals are able to achieve a relatively advanced level of L2
proficiency without the benefit of any interpersonal communication
or opportunity to negotiate meaning in the language with others.

(2) Some individuals engage in extensive interaction with speakers of
another language without learning that language to any significant
Explaining why some individuals apparently interact quite successfully with others while developing little or no competence in a common linguistic code requires a closer look at what other strategies are used for communication. These include:
•Background knowledge and experience which help individuals
organize new information and make guesses about what is going on
and what will happen next;
•Understanding of the overall situation or event;
•Extralinguistic context, including physical setting and objects;
•Gestures, facial expressions, and other non verbal signs;
•Prosodic features of tone and stress to convey emotional state;
The macrosocial factors we will consider are at several levels in the ecological context of SLA:
•Global and national status of L1 and L2
•Boundaries and identities
•Institutional forces and constraints
•Social categories
•Circumstances of learning
At a global and national level, influences on SLA involve the power and status of learners’ native and target languages, whether overtly stated in official policies or covertly realized in cultural values and practices.
Social boundaries that are relevant to SLA may coincide with national borders, but they also exist within and across them as they function to unify speakers as members of a language community and to exclude outsiders from membership; influences on SLA at this level often involve the relationship between native and target language groups, as well as the openness and permeability of community boundaries.
Within nations, institutional forces and constraints often affect the use and knowledge of L2 in relation to such things as social control, political and religious practices, and economic and educational opportunities.

Age, gender, and ethnicity are factors of social group membership which may potentially be relevant to SLA.

Finally, circumstances of learning can influence SLA, such as learners’ prior educational experiences, whether the L2 learning process is informal or formal, and (if formal) the type of educational model learners
have access to and the pedagogical orientation of their teachers and administrators.
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